Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969), stars Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katherine Ross. Great old time sepia/nickelodeon/silent movie opening. Great intro line: "Some of what follows is true." Very good cinematography...shadows & camera angles. Classic finale. Affable criminals, but good does triumph over evil.
Duck, You Sucker (1971)...worst title ever, graphic & violent in places, not for all audiences...but tells an honest story with lots of action & character development. Stars James Coburn, Rod Steiger, Romolo Valli. My favorite Sergio Leone movie, even over The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly. Music by Ennio Morricone.
Fort Apache (1948), stars John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple. Directed by John Ford. Presentation of seasoned Cavalrymen, a headstrong & stubborn officer (Fonda), and unscrupulous Indian agents, all ring true to history. Classic last scene about how things should be remembered.
High Noon (1952), stars Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly...hands down , my favorite movie of all time. Watched it first, breathless, as an 8-year-old at the Fox Theater in Visalia, CA. Made up my mind to live by The Code, like Will Cane did. This movie's the reason I write western stories. Will Cane's the prototype of Stuart Brannon, Tap Andrews, Avery John Creede, and all the rest of my male protagonists.
Open Range (2003), stars Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening. The best thing about the movie? The sound effects of the gunfight. For once, Hollywood got it right.
Quigley Down Under (1990), stars Tom Selleck, Laura San Giacomo, Alan Rickman. IMHO, this movie's about a great Sharps rifle & the lost sport of long distance black powder shooting. I think Laura San Giacomo should be awarded best female performance in any western.
Stagecoach (1939)...John Wayne's first major role. Features legendary stuntman, Yakima Canutt, who stops a speeding stagecoach. Directed by John Ford. Sets the tone for westerns aimed for adults. Did for the movies what Gunsmoke did for TV westerns.
The Alamo (2004), stars Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid, Jason Patric, Patrick Wilson. Terrific cinematography. I love this film. Inspires me every time, especially the character development of William Travis (Patrick Wilson).
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962), stars John Wayne, James Stewart, Vera Miles. I like the gradual realization of what really happened...and why it's important to leave things as they are.
The Shootist (1976), stars John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard. My favorite John Wayne movie. The Code of the West represented with great clarity.
Why not Shane (1953)? Should be on list. Great story line with classic gunslinger hero. Well acted & directed. However, can't overcome studio's choice to dress Jean Arthur in 1948 slacks...nor the annoying cry at the end: "Shane! Come back, Shane!"